Megaloads tread on Idaho values

A good op ed from Idaho Rivers United-

Megaloads tread on Idaho values. By Kevin Lewis. Idaho Mountain Express.

Update on the oil megaloads on Highway 12

One megaload reaches Lolo; one stuck on Highway 12-

We haven’t covered this for a while, but as many predicted the movement is not going smoothly.

1 megaload reaches Lolo; 1 stuck on Highway 12. By Jamie Kelly. Missoulian.

Snowy roads, traffic delay violations stall ConocoPhillips megaloads

As predicted there have been lots of problems, though they will most certainly get the first load through eventually-

Snowy roads, traffic delay violations stall ConocoPhillips megaloads. By Kim Briggeman. Missoulian.

There is a rumor that future loads might be routed to use Interstate 90 and 15 which would present far fewer technical, congestion, and environmental problems.  However, being an Interstate highway the loads would have to first be broken down to a much lower height because of the overpasses.

Crowds follow megaload along U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho

If all went well, it should stopped at the town of Kooskia now-

Crowds follow [first] megaload along U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho. By Kim Briggeman of the Missoulian

Local megaload opposition relents on first 4 megaloads

Opponents of the megaloads drop fight on the first four-

Having lost before the Idaho Department of Transportation, opponents of the oil megaloads will no longer try to stop the first four of them.  These are bound for the existing oil refinery in Billings, Montana. The next 200 megaloads (not approved for now) are for what many see as the tar sand pits from hell in Alberta, Canada.

Movement of the first four should reveal much about who is right about them?  Will the loads have great difficulty getting up the highway and over Lolo Pass?  Will there be an accident?  Will they be safely parked during the day, or will they end up blocking traffic? Will the megaloads harm the highway surface or warp the bridges?  Will the megaloads generate any local employment beyond a few people holding signs and public revenues going to pay for highway patrol escorts?

Idaho megaload opponents: Let big rigs roll to Billings. By Kim Briggeman of Missoulian.

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Feb. 1, 2011 update. As Megaloads Roll, What Two of Three Plaintiffs Learned About Opposition. New West (feature article). By Steve Bunk.  New West has done an outstanding job covering the megaloads issue. This is their latest feature article.

I was particularly impressed with this quote in the article, “Referring to state troopers who accompany megaloads through Idaho, Laughy remarked, ‘I find it particularly interesting that our state could be contracting out our police to the South Korean government.’ ”  I say it’s a good example what happens when we (the United States) are well on our way to being a colony of the corporations of other parts of the world (thanks to the work of people like provincial governor Butch Otter).

First four oil megaloads get “go ahead” by Idaho Dept. of Transportation

If first four loads don’t go up and over smoothly, battle will likely last for a generation-

The megaloads for the Billings, MT oil refinery now have a go ahead from Idaho, and will probably get one quickly from Montana. Highway 12 itself has been slippery to very slippery except in its lower portion.  Parts of it have also been briefly closed to reduced to one lane due to rockslides.

Idaho official signs off on Highway 12 megaload permits. By Kim Briggeman of the Missoulian

Imperial Oil/Exxon big rigs EA gets unfriendly reception at meeting

A University of Montana economist and others tear EA apart-

It’s amazing to me that they think they can get approval by doing a mere environmental analysis report (EA) for over 200 megaloads on Montana’s highways.*

At any rate, University of Montana economist Steve Seninger and others showed the huge defect in the EA’s claim that the megaloads would give a $67.8 million benefit to Montana’s economy. There was no discussion of monetary and other costs.  In other words, the EA writes of gross benefits, when it is net benefits (if there are any) that matters.

The costs are  revenue losses in the travel/outdoor recreation industry, costs to taxpayers from accidents, traffic delays and disruptions of emergency services, premature wear of Montana’s highways and harm to wildlife, water, agriculture and timber in Western Montana.

In Idaho, Butch Otter, the Farm Bureau and others, and in Montana, a similar bunch of people speak of the job benefits, but “What you end up with is basically something less than 82 jobs for the ExxonMobil transportation project, and those jobs are primarily lower wage, lower skilled jobs in terms of flagholders and driving some of the advance cars and rear cars,”[economist] Seninger said. “In my mind, you don’t have to be an economist to say that’s really not an employment machine.”

The fact that these are low wage, low skill jobs to move sophisticated oil equipment from the far east to Alberta is why I have been calling them “jobs for peasants.”

Story: Imperial Oil/Exxon big rigs EA draws ire. By Kim Briggeman. The Missoulian.

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*To understand the controversy, folks need to mentally separate the first, 4 megaloads that are bound for the oil refinery in Billings, Montana from the 200+ bound for Alberta’s tar sand pits.